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Notice of Receipt of Petitions for a Waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Notice of Receipt of Petitions for a Waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard

Janet G. McCabe
Environmental Protection Agency
November 29, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 230 (Friday, November 29, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71607-71609]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28301]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0747; FRL-9903-35-OAR]


Notice of Receipt of Petitions for a Waiver of the Renewable Fuel 
Standard

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: EPA has received a number of petitions for a waiver of the 
renewable fuel standards that would apply in 2014. The American 
Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical 
Manufacturers (AFPM) submitted a joint petition to the Administrator, 
dated August 13, 2013, on behalf of their members requesting a partial 
waiver of the 2014 applicable volumes under the RFS. Subsequently, 
several refining companies submitted individual petitions to the 
Administrator that also request a waiver of the 2014 applicable 
volumes. Section 211(o)(7)(A) of the Clean Air Act allows the 
Administrator of the EPA to waive the national volume requirements of 
the renewable fuel standard program in whole or in part if the 
Administrator determines that implementation of those requirements 
would severely harm the economy or environment of a State, a region, or 
the United States, or that there is inadequate domestic supply. EPA is 
inviting comment on all issues relevant to the petitions for a waiver 
that have been submitted. Comments submitted in response to a related 
Federal Register notice proposing the 2014 volume requirements will be 
considered to also have been submitted to the docket for this notice.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 28, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OAR-2013-0747, by one of the following methods:
     www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
     E-Mail: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov.
     Fax: (202) 566-1741.
     Mail: Air and Radiation Docket, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-
2013-0479, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 6102T, 1200 
Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please include a total 
of two copies.
     Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, Public Reading Room, EPA 
West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 
20460. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal 
hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for 
deliveries of boxed information.
    Instructions: Direct your comments on the petitions for a waiver of 
the 2014 volume requirements to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0747. 
Comments submitted in response to a related Federal Register notice 
proposing the 2014 volume requirements, docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0479, 
will be considered to also have been submitted to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OAR-2013-0747. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be 
included in the public docket without change and may be made available 
online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be 
Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose 
disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you 
consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov 
or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access'' 
system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact 
information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you 
send an email comment directly to EPA without going through 
www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured 
and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket 
and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic 
comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact 
information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you 
submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties 
and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to 
consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special 
characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or 
viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the 
EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Korotney, Office of 
Transportation and Air Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, 
National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, 2565 Plymouth Road, Ann 
Arbor, MI 48105; telephone number: (734) 214-4507; fax number: (734) 
214-4050; email address: korotney.david@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. How can I access the docket and/or submit comments?

    EPA has established a public docket for this Notice under Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0747 which is available for online viewing at 
www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the EPA/DC Docket Center 
Public Reading Room, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 3334, 
Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. 
to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The 
telephone number for the Reading Room is 202-566-1744, and the 
telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket is 202-566-1742.
    Use www.regulations.gov to obtain a copy of the waiver requests, 
submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the 
contents of the docket, and to access those documents in the public 
docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select 
``search,'' then key in the docket ID number identified in this 
document.

II. Background

    The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program began in 2006 pursuant to 
the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), which added a renewable fuel 
program to the Clean Air Act (CAA, or ``Act''). The statutory 
provisions for the RFS program were subsequently modified through the 
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), and EPA published 
revised regulatory

[[Page 71608]]

requirements on March 26, 2010 (75 FR 14670). The transition from the 
requirements of EPAct to the requirements of EISA generally occurred on 
July 1, 2010.
    EISA establishes annual ``applicable volumes'' for four categories 
of renewable fuel: cellulosic biofuel, biomass based diesel, advanced 
biofuel, and total renewable fuel. The statute specifies increasing 
applicable volumes through 2022 for all fuel types except biomass-based 
diesel, for which applicable volumes are specified through 2012. For 
years after those specified in the statute, EPA is to establish the 
applicable volumes after consideration of specified factors. The 
statute requires that EPA annually establish percentage standards that 
will ensure that required annual volumes of renewable fuels are used. 
However, EISA also provides the Administrator with authority to waive 
the applicable volumes of renewable fuels in appropriate circumstances.
    The required volumes and associated percentage standards under the 
RFS program for the 2014 compliance year are being proposed in a 
related Federal Register notice. Under the RFS program, obligated 
parties, typically gasoline or diesel refiners or importers, are 
required to meet annual percentage standards to be in compliance. EPA 
sets these percentages, called the RFS percentage standards or RFS 
standards. Renewable identification numbers, or RINs, are assigned by 
renewable fuel producers to each gallon of qualifying renewable fuel 
that they produce, and serve as a means for demonstrating compliance by 
the obligated parties. RINs can be acquired by obligated parties who 
purchase renewable fuel with assigned RINs, or they can be purchased by 
obligated parties from other parties who have accumulated more RINs 
than necessary for their own compliance. Aside from using current-year 
RINs to demonstrate compliance in a given year, obligated parties may 
also choose (a) to use available RINs from the prior year towards the 
current year's requirement, up to a 20 percent cap, and/or (b) to carry 
forward a compliance deficit that can be satisfied in the next 
compliance year.
    Section 211(o)(7)(A) of the Act allows the Administrator, in 
consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of 
Energy, to waive the national volume requirements of the RFS, in whole 
or in part, upon petition by one or more States, or by any party 
subject to the requirements of the RFS program. The Administrator may 
also waive the volume requirements on her own motion. A waiver may be 
issued if the Administrator determines, after public notice and 
opportunity for comment, that implementation of the RFS volume 
requirement would severely harm the economy or environment of a State, 
a region, or the United States, or that there is an inadequate domestic 
supply. If a waiver is granted, it can last no longer than one year but 
may be renewed by the Administrator after consultation with the 
Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Energy.

III. What is today's action?

    The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel & 
Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) submitted a petition to the 
Administrator, dated August 13, 2013, on behalf of their members 
requesting a partial waiver of the 2014 applicable volumes under the 
RFS. Subsequently, several refining companies submitted individual 
petitions to the Administrator that also request a waiver of the 2014 
applicable volumes; nearly all of the petitions from individual 
companies incorporate the API/AFPM petition by reference. All of the 
petition letters are available in the docket, and any additional 
similar requests submitted to EPA will also be docketed and considered 
together with requests already received. EPA is seeking comment on the 
petitions for a waiver of the 2014 renewable fuel standard and matters 
relevant to EPA's consideration of those petitions.
    The petitions generally argue that there is an inadequate domestic 
supply of renewable fuel and therefore RINs for 2014, due both to 
ethanol ``blendwall'' constraints and limitations on the production of 
non-ethanol fuels like biodiesel. Petitioners argue that this 
inadequate supply of renewable fuel (and RINs) will lead to an 
inadequate supply of gasoline and diesel, because refiners and 
importers, faced with a shortage of RINs, will reduce their production 
of gasoline and diesel for the domestic market. Petitioners argue that 
this will in turn severely harm the economy based on increased domestic 
gasoline and diesel prices. Petitioners attached an analysis, dated 
October 2012, conducted by NERA Economic Consulting, titled ``Economic 
Impacts Resulting from Implementation of RFS2 Program [sic].'' The 
petition requests that EPA exercise its waiver authorities under 
section 211(o)(7) to reduce the required national volume of total 
renewable fuel and advanced biofuel to certain specified levels.
    In a separate action that proposes the applicable RFS percentage 
standards for 2014, EPA is proposing to waive part of the 2014 
statutory RFS volumes. Specifically, in the separate Federal Register 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the 2014 standards, EPA is proposing 
to find that there is an inadequate domestic supply of renewable fuels 
in 2014 under section 211(o)(7)(A). EPA is also proposing to reduce the 
applicable volume of cellulosic biofuel under section 211(o)(7)(D). 
Based on these findings, EPA is proposing to reduce the applicable 
volumes of total renewable fuel and advanced biofuel. EPA is not, 
however, proposing to find that implementation of the standards would 
severely harm the economy. In its separate proposal to establish the 
2014 RFS volumes and percentage standards, EPA discusses in detail the 
legal, technical, and policy considerations that are the basis for its 
proposal.
    EPA recognizes that there is significant overlap in the supporting 
data and issues raised in the petitions for a waiver and EPA's 
rulemaking to set the RFS percentage standards for 2014. Therefore, for 
the convenience of the parties and to avoid duplicative submissions by 
parties to both dockets, EPA will treat all comments and other 
information submitted to the docket for the 2014 RFS rulemaking (EPA-
HQ-OAR-2013-0479) as also submitted to the docket for the petitions for 
a waiver (EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0747). Therefore, parties will only need to 
submit additional comments or information to docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-
0747 if those comments and information are intended solely for the 
petitions for a waiver and not for the rulemaking to set the 2014 RFS 
standards. EPA requests that such comments on the waiver petitions be 
submitted in the same time frame as comments on the rulemaking 
proposal. In light of the overlap in issues between the rulemaking 
proposal and petitions for waiver, EPA expects that our determination 
on the substance of the petitions for a partial waiver of the 2014 
statutory volumes will be issued at the same time that EPA issues a 
final rule establishing the 2014 RFS standards.
    EPA is issuing this notice to solicit comments and information on 
all of the issues raised in the petitions for a waiver.
    Commenters should include data or specific examples in support of 
their comments in order to aid the Administrator in evaluating the 
requests for a waiver and determining what action if any is appropriate 
in light of all of the circumstances.


[[Page 71609]]


    Dated: November 15, 2013.
Janet G. McCabe,
Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation.
[FR Doc. 2013-28301 Filed 11-27-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

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